• Maria Caines

How are you attracting new clients?

I am always on the lookout for a great deal. The value can be in the price, the brand and/or the quality. Recently, while checking Facebook, there have been several times when my friends shared great deals that they found posted on local business pages that I like and follow. Why have I missed those deals. Seems that Facebook increasingly determines which posts land in your timeline and their algorithms have very little to do with what you like and follow. If you are one of the businesses that I like and follow, where does that leave you? Your posts are becoming more like the traditional "pay and pray" media where you hope that you are reaching your audience.

Social media is a great way to attract new clients. Traditional print and radio can also attract new customers. Smartphones present a new way to reach new clients through e-commerce apps. You can have an app custom designed for your business or for greater audience reach, join a coalition site that will extend beyond your current customer base.

One of the best ways to attract new clients is by referral of a current customer. Referrals typically result from outstanding products and/or services although an amazing loyalty/rewards program can really escalate the rate of customer referrals. The big guys like PC OPtimum, Starbucks, Canadian Tire and The Scene have proven this concept and regularly influence the spending habits of their cardholders. Airmiles has proven successful for the businesses in its coalition like Sobeys, Irving and Kent but they still don't have their logos on Airmiles cards.

So, why should a great loyalty/rewards program be limited to the big companies? The truth is that you can have a loyalty/rewards program. Many POS systems have built-in loyalty programs. Some subscription loyalty apps act like a stamp card, because who needs another one of those in your wallet, right?

Consumers are increasingly looking for rewards with every purchase rather than a collector model, which means you need to offer exceptional value in exchange for their personal information for marketing directly to them. Collector cards may take too long to achieve a reward or the offers may not be appealing enough for some customers. When you find the sweet spot, when you offer an outstanding reward for their loyalty that makes them feel special, your customers will refer your business organically through their social interactions with friends and colleagues. Bond Brand Loyalty provided these Canadian metrics for 2018 in this infographic from their annual report.

Keep doing what you're going to attract new customers. Pay for ads to build your brand. Follow these simple rules for the best return on your investment:

> Measure your results to know your cost of customer acquisition from each paid ad

> Collect customer information at every opportunity

> Wow your customers with great customer service

Finally, for maximum return on your advertising budget, invest in an affordable, tech savvy, coalition rewards platform that promotes your branding, helps manage your database, enables you to bring the added value that your customers seek and increases your marketing audience beyond your customer base for consistent, sustainable revenue growth.

Maria Caines is a shop local champion focused on building shopping communities for local businesses through a marketing platform where one card works everywhere! If you would like to learn more, please email maria@bay2main.com or call (902) 449-7624 to schedule a personal consultation.

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